In Sri Lanka, ‘Tank‘ refers to an ancient irrigation reservoir. The first Tank was built in 4th century BC and over the years, successive kings constructed nearly 2800 of them in the dry zone of the country to retain rain water for paddy cultivation. The bund was built with compressed earth and the inside was lined with granite to prevent erosion. The ancient hydraulic engineers built sophisticated granite lined sluice gates which reduced the potential energy and water pressure in the tank and delivered water to paddy fields in a controlled manner through gradually widening canals.
Panama is one such tank on the east coast of Sri Lanka. The bund, wide and firm enough for vehicles, extends for several kilometres, initially through paddy fields and the the jungle with majestic tall trees. It was ideal for our post-brunch walk.
Some trees stood in still waters. An iguana crossed the road. A tree was decked with Baya-weaver nests. A lone Brahmini Kite circled overhead and settled on tree. A herd of white cattle appeared from nowhere.
After an hour or so it started to rain. We sheltered under a tree and soon, Jetwing Surf staff appeared in jeeps, distributed umbrellas and drove us back to Pottuvil.
(The walk on Panama Bund was arranged by Jetwing Surf)